GP nurse gets €26,000 after unfair dismissal

A GP practice nurse who told her boss that “I am not a docker” after being asked to sign a time sheet form has been awarded €26,000 for unfair dismissal.

In its ruling, the Employment Appeals Tribunal has awarded Miriam McGrath €26,000 after finding that GP Now unfairly dismissed her on September 12, 2013.

GP Now established its first clinic at Sandyford, Dublin, in 2011, billed as an alternative in private primary healthcare. It has since opened two other clinics at Swords and Templeogue.

The tribunal heard that Ms McGrath said she “was not a docker” but “a medical professional” when asked to sign the time sheet form. She began work at GP Now in June 2012.

The tribunal records that as a result of Ms McGrath not signing the time sheet form, the firm’s operations director spoke to GP Now senior management and they decided that this was “the final straw”.

Ms McGrath was later that day presented with a dismissal letter stating it was a legal requirement to record all employees’ hours and breaks. In its determination, the tribunal stated there was no legal requirement on an employee to keep a record of the times of their functions and if an employer required such times for any function then they should seek to have this provision incorporated into the employee’s contract in a reasonable manner.

The tribunal added that Ms McGrath “is not required by statute to sign the time record sheet or to keep a record and the tribunal does not accept that there is any statutory provision placed on the employee to so do”.

The tribunal found Ms McGrath “was not given any or any adequate warnings prior to the decision to dismiss”, stating that the dismissal “was totally unreasonable and disproportionate in the circumstances”.

In her evidence, Ms McGrath said she had raised a number of issues with the company over the way the practice was run. She told the tribunal she had never been issued with a verbal warning or involved in disciplinary proceedings.

In its ruling, the tribunal said the most appropriate remedy in the case was compensation, and awarded Ms McGrath €26,000.

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